How to Find the Right Sonography School Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Moody AL, it's time to start the procedure of selecting a school. First, you must find the right program that will furnish the necessary training to become a skilled professional. And since some states do require that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's very important that you investigate each school in order to assess and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one start? A number of individuals will begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Naturally cost and location should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors as well. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they offer internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But first, let's review what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are offered.
Ultrasound Tech Job Summary
There are several acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although many work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Moody AL clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily job duties of a sonogram technician may include:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining necessity for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely evaluate the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to sustain that degree of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education training on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degrees Offered
Ultrasound tech enrollees have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally require around 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish. Another option for individuals who have already received a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have obtained a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a related health field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to bear in mind is that most ultrasound technician schools do have a clinical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges organize through Moody AL hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to satisfy the certification or licensing prerequisites in Alabama or whichever state you choose to practice in.
Ultrasound Technology Specialties
Ultrasound technology, or diagnostic sonography, has become more popular for diagnosing internal medical conditions because, unlike other medical imaging tools such as X-rays or CT Scans, ultrasound doesn’t expose the body to radiation. This safer approach has made ultrasound imaging the preferred method for testing pregnant women and infants, who have a higher risk for complications due to radiation. However, babies and expectant mothers are not the only ones who can benefit from ultrasound imaging and it is used in many ways to diagnose illness in the body. Following is a partial list of ultrasound technician education specialties available in the Moody AL area:
- Musculoskeletal sonographers can create real-time images of joint injuries, assisting orthopedic surgeons and sports physicians in their diagnosis and treatment.
- Abdominal sonographers specialize in generating images of abdominal internal organs and tissues, such as the pancreas, spleen, liver and gallbladder.
- Breast sonographers conduct ultrasound scans using a sound frequency specifically targeted for breast tissue to evaluate tumors and other abnormalities as a method of verifying or contradicting the results of a mammogram.
- Obstetrics/Gynecology sonographers work with women to scan their reproductive organs and assess the development and health of fetuses throughout the pregnancy.
- Echocardiography sonographers are trained in the imaging and evaluation of the heart, its valves and vessels, and the blood flow to and from the heart.
- Vascular technologists are trained to use ultrasound technology to identify damaged areas or blockages in blood vessels, and to gauge the flow of blood through veins and arteries.
- Ophthalmology sonographers conduct diagnostic tests on the eyes and surrounding muscles and tissue.
- Neurosonology sonographers are specially trained to use ultrasound imaging to detect blockages, tumors or abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
Online Sonogram Tech Degrees
As earlier discussed, almost all sonogram technician schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus facility. Practical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Moody ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. However the remainder of the classes and training may be accessed online in your Moody home. This is particularly beneficial for those students that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online programs are many times less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just as with any sonography college you are considering, verify that the online school you ultimately pick is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
Once you have determined which certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram tech colleges. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Moody AL area. Clearly location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier also. But there are additional variables that you must also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to complete your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, below are some questions that you need ask each sonographer school before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Technician Colleges Accredited? Most ultrasound tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Moody AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the ultrasound technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with Moody AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Moody health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Moody AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the sonogram tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the sonographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Moody Ultrasound Technician Program
Selecting the ideal ultrasound tech certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to entering a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to meeting academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for extended periods and able to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Additional helpful skills include technical proficiency, the ability to keep collected when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering. This is the case whether you enroll in an online program or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can assess each school, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a sonographer in Moody Alabama.